Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire
On Show 2020
Mary-Clare Lucey

My Money Counts is a financial-education resource for people with intellectual disabilities. The initiative was spearheaded by the Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS) in association with St John of Gods and IADT. I was involved in several user-testing sessions and undertook the redesign of the website as part of both Web Applications and HCI assignments, throughout 3rd and 4th year of my degree.

For my Major Research Project, I conducted a study to examine whether the scope of the My Money Counts user-base could be broadened to include people with numeric difficulties. Research by the OECD suggested that in Ireland, 1 in 4 people test at or below level 1 for numeracy. Additionally, “maths anxiety” can result in an avoidance of number-based resources. Both objective and perceived ability for maths can influence one’s ‘Subjective Numeracy’, which is the preference for working with numbers.

My study sought to establish whether people with lower subjective numeracy would report higher usability scores when using My Money Counts’ budgeting tool, compared to those who used the tool provided by MABS for general public use. Additionally, a qualitative study was carried out to identify any aspects of the interface that could be improved.

Participants completed the Subjective Numeracy Scale and were divided randomly into My Money Counts and MABS test conditions. They were provided with a hypothetical scenario and were asked to use their assigned webtool to create a budget based on the information provided. They then rated their experience using the Usefulness, Satisfaction and Ease of Use Questionnaire.

Findings suggested that both the lower and higher subjective numeracy groups reported a greater user experience with the My Money Counts webtool. This may suggest that the initiative’s target demographic could be expanded or that the design could be adapted for general public use. Further, findings from the thematic analysis highlighted issues with the interface which were addressed in a subsequent redesign.